Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book to Read: Eugenics and Education in America by Ann Winfeild

Bill Ayers has an interesting post about Ann Winfeild's Eugenics and Education in America: Institutionalized Racism and the Implications of History, Ideology, and Memory (Complicated Conversation: a Book Series of Curriculum Studies).


Ayers' review:
Written out of the official story as quackery and the handiwork of a few nut-cases, Winfield demonstrates beyond doubt that eugenics was not only respectable, mainstream science but also that its major tenets were well-springs in the formation of American public schools with echoes in the every day practices of today. Formed in the crucible of white supremacy and rigid hierarchies of human value, American schools have never adequately faced that living heritage.

We no longer talk of “miscegenation” or “imbeciles,” of course, and we are likely to look upon forced sterilization and race-based marriage laws as archaic. But Winfield undermines any sense of smug superiority we might grant ourselves by drawing a direct line from those repulsive labels and practices to our own obsessions with “standards” and “accountability,” test scores and grades. White supremacy surely changes its spots but it remains durable and dominant.

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